It’s incredibly difficult to detect such small creatures, but several teeny tiny snail species were discovered in China that shatters at least one record. One of their most recent discoveries has become the smallest land snail ever found. Though it’s highly suspected there are more.
- Angustopila dominikae is the smallest land snail ever discovered, with 0.86 mm in height
- The actual snail was not found, but the researchers found the shell
- The world’s tiniest snail is the ammonicera minortalis, that ranges between 0.32mm and 0.46mm
- The world’s largest snail, by comparison, is the African giant snail, with 15.5 inches in size
Microsnails are a rare find indeed, as it’s almost impossible to uncover them. This particular one was found in a soil sample at the base of cliffs of limestone rock in the Guangxi Province, China. The team of researchers studied what they could of the small creature, with only its miniscule shell to examine.
The actual snail was not found, but it still led the team to important observations. The new snail species was called Angustopila dominikae and measured just around 0.86 millimeters in height, and around 0.3 millimeters in width. Think of it as 0.33 inches on 0.31 inches, if the metric scale is not enough to offer a proper picture.
To further aid the imagery, the researchers have claimed that even 10 of the tiny snails could comfortably fit in the eye of a needle. It’s why such findings are incredibly difficult and rare. The actual numbers of existent species of microsnails, thus, remains unknown. The list might never be fully completed.
The team of researchers described the shell as minute and rounded, with 4.7 whorls, that might be perfect for them to live in tiny cracks within rocks or possibly float on water. However, more details are unavailable, as without the presence of the actual snail, more information is impossible to gather. It does, however, have interesting implications.
According to one of the lead researchers, Barna Páll-Gergely from Shinshu University, this will not only attract the attention of the public due to its incredibly tiny size. It will also gather the interest of scientists due to their possible adjustment techniques to the environment. When they’re that small, they would require precise conditions and a careful lifestyle.
They hope that this will be another step forward in studying the “evolution of dwarfism in invertebrates”. According to the team, it’s important to investigate these tiny-shelled snails for assessing biodiversity and better understanding the history of living organism.
Like other microsnails discovered, it was suggested that A. dominikae munched on microorganisms like bacteria or fungal filaments.
While they’re the smallest land snails ever discovered though, they are not the smallest snail in general, but still a significant finding.
Image source: inhabitat.com